World Bulletin / News Desk
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) announced on Friday that in protest of European Union refugee policies, it will no longer accept funds from the EU or its member states.
The international, independent, medical humanitarian organization vowed not to seek EU or member state’s funds “until there is a policy drive towards taking people in and focusing on individual needs”.
Jerome Oberreit, the group’s international secretary general, announced the decision at a news conference in Brussels. “For months MSF has spoken out about a shameful European response focused on deterrence rather than providing people with the assistance and protection they need,” he said. “The EU-Turkey deal goes one step further and has placed the very concept of ‘refugee’ and the protection it offers in danger”.
On Twitter, the group said, “We cannot accept funding from the EU or the Member States while at the same time treating the victims of their polices! It’s that simple.”
The group vowed that none of organization’s patients would be affected by that decision, as they “will use emergency funds to keep our projects running”.
It said the EU-Turkey deal is painted as a success, but European states refuse to see its true human cost.
The group said on its website that “more than 8,000 people, including hundreds of unaccompanied minors, have been stranded as a direct consequence of the EU-Turkey deal” on the Greek Islands.
Under the EU-Turkey deal to ease the refugee crisis, which saw more than 850,000 people cross from Turkey to the EU last year, EU leaders agreed to cut visa requirements for Turkish citizens and accelerate Turkey's EU membership bid.
The deal also provides a 6 billion euro ($6.73 billion) aid package to help Ankara deal with the 2.7 millions of Syrian refugees it is hosting.
“There are undoubtedly needs in Turkey, a country which currently hosts close to 3 million Syrian refugees, but this aid has been negotiated as a reward for border control promises, rather than being based solely on needs,” Doctors Without Borders said, adding that the “instrumentalisation of humanitarian aid is unacceptable.”
Oberreit said “the main focus of the response in Europe has been to stop people from coming,” adding, “This is really about Europe’s refugee shame”.
The group recalled that last week the European Commission unveiled a new proposal to replicate the EU-Turkey logic across more than 16 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
“Is Europe’s only offer to refugees that they stay in countries they are desperate to flee? Once again, Europe’s main focus is not on how well people will be protected, but on how efficiently they are kept away,” said Oberreit.